The video is based on an experiment of a Plant physiology course (HORT301) for Horticulture and Biology students. It is a student production for the www.ChloroFilms.org competition. It depicts how flower pigments are analyzed using thin layer chromatography (TLC) and spectrophotometry. Investigations that shed light on the chemical and physical behavior of flower pigments are also shown as the isolated pigments are subjected to different pH and the change in spectral behavior (change of color) is monitored. In addition to visualizing pigments on a TLC plate and recording the different molecules that make up each pigment extract from flowers of different colors, we also visualize flower pigments under UV light which allows to detect new separated molecules, which were invisible before. This helps to address the question: what do animals see if they see flowers? Insects have the ability to see different spectral wavelength and thus receive additional information from pigmented flowers.
We developed educational videos to enhance the student’s ability to learn and appreciate plant biology. One of the problems we want to address is the knowledge gap of students from diverse science backgrounds in a Plant Physiology course (HORT301) at Purdue University. We want to ensure not to overwhelm some who have less experience in experimentation while still challenging students who are already familiar with methodology. Our goals are to enable the students to 1) identify basic terminology related to laboratory procedures, 2) to identify single basic steps in laboratory procedures, 3) to carry out basic steps in lab and research procedures and to 4) develop a positive attitude towards the process of scientific discovery. The idea is to translate basic scientific information into language that appeals to the students and engages them in a discourse with the lab material through use of popular culture and visually stimulating instruction. Undeniable, the built-in "cool factor" by using fast cuts, a stimulating musical score and frames within frames creating a high paced flow offers information at a greater rate by employing the stimulating element of audio/visuals that is very common and comprehensible within students. All steps of production of this video involve the students who also perform in this video. The students were actively involved from the storyboarding, preparing the locations, shooting the footage, designing animations to the editing process and finalizing the cut of the material after critical review. Video camera equipment was supplied by Purdue University’s Digital Learning Collaboratory at ITaP (http://dlc.purdue.edu/cs4.cfm) and through an Instructional Innovation grant by the College of Agriculture. Editing of the material and production of musical score has been done together with Diana Nucera (Video artist, Detroit, MI) and Ribo Espino (High school student, Chicago, IL), respectively. More background information on our video productions can be found at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/academics/HortMedia/hortmedia.html.